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Research Data Management: Finding & Reusing Data

Students using computers in the Jack Kilby Computing Centre at Merchiston.Secondary Data covers information that has been collected by someone else, and made available for you to use. Using Secondary Data for research saves both time and effort on part of the researcher, and makes use of freely available resources. However, Secondary Data are limited by their relevancy, scope, and sufficiency in relation to your research. If you decide to use Secondary Data in your research, remember to cite it appropriately. It is best practice, and typically a condition of the licence under which data are shared, that you reference the source of secondary data, akin to providing a bibliographic reference to other research outputs, such as journal articles.

Here we will talk about sources of Secondary Data, and how it can be reused.

Finding & Reusing

What am I allowed to do with the data? Checking the licence terms of the data

All research data that you intended for reuse should have a licence — a legal document that states what you can and can't use the data for, and how it should be attributed. Licensing information should appear in the metadata record or be provided by the data custodian when you seek access. If the information isn't clear, contact the data custodian for more information and/or to negotiate licence terms.

Licensing data that contains secondary or 'reused'  data 

As data reuse and the combining of new and secondary data becomes more common, reusers are needing to apply licences to these 'derived' datasets. The type of licence you choose for such a dataset will depend on (a) the amount or proportion of secondary data in the 'new' dataset, and (b) the terms of the original licence under which those secondary data were acquired. For example, whether the original licence required that new versions of the data be licensed under the same terms.

Attributing your data source: data citation

It is best practice, and typically a condition of the licence under which data are shared, that you reference the source of secondary data in your own research outputs that use these data. This is akin to providing a bibliographic reference to other research outputs, such as journal articles.

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Resources

With thanks to;

Australian National Data Service (2016) Data Reuse. Available at: http://ands.org.au/working-with-data/enabling-data-reuse/data-reuse

The University of Edinburgh (2015) Research Data MANTRA. Available at: http://datalib.edina.ac.uk/mantra/